The Historic Wilson Theatre

Just two years from now, Rupert’s Historic Wilson Theatre will celebrate its 100th birthday. This incredible theatre and event center, originally designed and built in 1920, has hosted a century of traveling vaudeville acts, concerts, plays, and movies.
In January 2000 a complete renovation began to restore the theatre to its original splendor. In 2001 the Historic Wilson Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the past 18 years, every detail of the original art and architecture has been painstakingly recreated by local artisans and craftsmen. The acoustic brilliance of the venue delights performers and audiences alike. This building was designed for sound!
Located on the historic Rupert Square, the Wilson Theatre is a beautiful venue for concerts, plays, and shows, but also offers ideal spaces for meetings, conventions, art exhibits, reunions, receptions, book signings and more. Please call or email us for more information and to make reservations for your event. Private tours are arranged upon request.  We would love to have you!
We thank the organizations, businesses, and private donors who have gotten us this far. Our lifeblood is volunteerism. If you'd like to donate monetarily or with your time, we invite you to become a part of the Wilson Theatre family!

In 2020 the Historic Wilson Theatre will celebrate its 100th birthday!

The past century generated a wealth of history for this incredible performance center. Our focus is now fixed squarely on the future!  


The Historic Wilson Theatre is the centerpiece of our community and a place for friends and family to gather, make memories, and experience live cultural arts.




Present Day

The Historic Wilson Theatre has undergone a nearly complete restoration. A few notable projects remain, including replica seating, fly loft, carpeting, wainscoting, and exterior tile. With the support of the community and a devoted team of people, our aim is to be completely finished by 2020.

Mission and Vision Statement

Our mission is to complete the restoration and transformation of the Wilson Building & Theatre, and create an innovative multi-purpose Community Center.

Our vision is to meet the needs and desires of our local people to provide quality cultural resources through arts, education, social and economic development.

Our goal is three fold: To bring together human resources for developing talents, learning new skills, and enriching the quality of life; to create a catalyst for revitalization of our community; and to continue the creative spirit of those who developed this region, established our city and created this facility, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Just look at all the fun we're having at the Wilson!

Check out our Upcoming Events tab to see what's next...

The Wilson Building & Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 17, 2001.

It all began in 1920...

Daniel Ward and Mennie Wilson had a dream of building a beautiful and unique opera house in Rupert, Idaho. That dream became a reality in 1920.

World War I was over, the soldiers were home, and it was a time of renaissance—not only for the country, but for the little town of Rupert, Idaho.

The Wilson Theatre opened on August 25, 1920. In the beginning it was a vaudeville theatre, but was soon showing movies with stars of the silent screen the likes of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. The theatre was also used for local plays and high school productions and soon began showing “talkies” (as movies with sound tracks were then referred to). The building was also used for conventions, community meetings, and church events. Even the clerk for the City of Rupert was housed in the Wilson until City Hall was built in 1939.

In 1997, a volunteer group of businessmen established a community development committee called the Rupert Renaissance Initiative (RRI). The Initiative was a three-year project to gather information from citizens about the future they wanted for Rupert. To achieve this goal, the RRI had three “Vision Fairs”. Through these events, it was discovered that the citizens wanted more arts, cultural opportunities, and diversification of the economy. That information led to the decision to purchase and renovate the Historic Wilson Building & Theatre and to create, in 2000, the Renaissance Arts Center, Inc., a non-profit organization.

A feasibility study by Myers/Anderson Architects of Pocatello determined that the building was in stable condition and had maintained much of its integrity since it was built in 1919-1920.

The Wilson Building & Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 17, 2001. The renovation and restoration has been funded by grants, donations and fundraisers. No local tax dollars have been used for the project.

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